Should Anthrax Vaccine Be Tested On Children?

by SafwatChoudhury on June 16, 2013 - 3:23pm

A very important ethical issue has been brought to my attention regarding the use of an Anthrax vaccine being used on children. The US government has proposed this idea; however there are many individuals who are strongly opposed to this, as it is an "unethical" act. This article almost immediately caught my attention because often times, we as a society do not think for ourselves. For an example, countless number people agree to getting vaccinated without really knowing what is being injected into their blood stream. We assume that the government is always doing what it best for our well-being, when really there are many shady things going on behind the scenes. In regards to the Anthrax vaccine, the government wishes to test this "dangerous bacterium" on infants.

This article does touch upon the fact that Anthrax can be used as a Bioterrorism agent; however that is very unlikely due to the fact that in today's society no individuals have used Anthrax as a biological weapon, aside from the case in 2001 which has been resolved. The main issue raised by the article is the statement that Anthrax can survive for extremely long periods of time, (roughly one hundred years) which can potentially be harmful to children. However, as mentioned previously, the Anthrax now CAN be used as a biological weapon, if it is injected into millions of people across America. Therefore the question is raised, should society take the risk and inject Anthrax into millions of people?

However, the real danger lies in just how powerful Anthrax can be, if not administered correctly. When injected or inhaled, the Anthrax can cause spores on the body which can withstand many means of termination. Given the right circumstances, the spores can open up and spread to other areas of the human body. These spores remain permanently unless if identified and treated during its early stages. Therefore the injection of Anthrax was thought to provide as a defensive mechanism against such a deadly bacteria. In 1997, the Anthrax vaccine was given to military personal, and as a result hundreds began to fall ill.

In my opinion, I would strongly advise the US government to not fund for the research of an Anthrax vaccine to the obvious health hazards it poses. The US attempted this in the past (in 1977) and it was a failure. Unless there is a one hundred percent chance that it safe for human use, I do not think it would be a smart thing to give to the citizens of America. I understand that Anthrax can be used as a weapon, but there is no evidence whatsoever that proves that a certain country/individual is producing Anthrax as a means for a biological weapon.

As I investigated this issue, I could not help me but imagine such a bacteria being injected into children. Although many are opposed to the vaccination being produced and used, the issue is still present. Therefore I urge the readers to think, should the US government inject Anthrax as a means of protection, regardless of its deadly nature?

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Secondary Article (used for research):


When I saw the word Anthrax and children in the same sentence, it immedietly caught my eye since I had heard about previous anthrax infections and how it participated in the death of thousands of people.

Since every vaccine is a controlled dose of a potentially deadly microbe, I think that if the research concerning the Anthrax vaccine is fairly extensive and it shows that no possible harm can be done then I say yes! If the vaccine actually functions properly then it will be a breakthrough in medical science. I do not think though that injecting the people of the United States is very pertinent since it is mostly people in third world countries that are exposed to it (they do not have the vaccine for their animals and are not informed as to the necessary precautions to adopt while dealing with the carcass of dead animals).

I do think it is a bad idea to test this vaccine on infants. The reason for this is that the US has already attempted this on adults and the results were not concluent. If the tests fail again, they are potentially putting the child's health at risk, introducing their organism to a potentially deadly virus.

You raise the argument about how the US has previously failed when trying the vaccine. Their actually is a current vaccine against anthrax that is fully functional. The only reason they want to test it on children is because the vaccine is only available to adults (the one they currently use for the military) so if there were ever a biological weapon using anthrax, the children would not be immune to it. But the current vaccine can cause really bad side effects, so I agree with you that until it is proven 100% safe to use it should not be attempted on children.

This is an interesting article describing how they proceeded into making the decision, we can see that this ethical debate has been going on for at least 2 years!

this is the follow up of the 2011 situation

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